Just weeks after Telstra apologised for an outage which resulted in customers being given a day of free data, the telco’s mobile network has suffered another nationwide meltdown.
Telstra has apologised for the network failure that affected up to 8 million customers, and like the earlier incident has vowed to provide a free data day as compensation.
Telstra CEO Andy Penn said a free data day would be offered on Sunday April 3 to compensate for the disruptions.
“It goes without question there will be another data-free day and that will be on Sunday, April 3… One outage is not good, is not acceptable but two is absolutely not acceptable.”
The free day last month opened the floodgates, and customers downloaded the equivalent of 2.3 million movies or 5.1 million episodes of Game of Thrones, Telstra said at the time.
Late on Thursday, millions of people across Australia experienced a sudden loss of network coverage, with their handsets unable to access digital data or use phone services.
The company was quick to announce that it was investigating the matter, but the problem affected users across the country, with complaints on social media coming from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and across Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Around 9.30pm Thursday – hours after the outage was reported by customers – Telstra issued this update.
“We are progressively restoring mobile services and we anticipate returning to normal soon,” a Telstra statement explained.
“We believe the incident has impacted a proportion of traffic for voice and data across the country.
“The cause of the incident is yet to be determined but at this early stage we understand we have had a problem with the part of the network that allows phones to register and therefore make calls and use data.”
“The cause of this [the mass outage] was an interruption and a reconnection of those services to the network,” said Mr Penn.
“I’m sincerely sorry to all of our customers. I know today how much you rely on the network and how much you rely on the reliability of the network.
For users however, it was a familiar feeling of frustration. A major outage in February was blamed on an “embarrassing human error”.
But many customers expressed outrage at the recurring nature of the problem, while others were alarmed because the malfunctions were impacting their businesses.
Karen Foster tweeted: “@Telstra how we going to be compensated? No bill next month?”.
Kristy Irons wrote on Facebook: “Telstra your service is pathetic, I have no home phone at all just the mobile. God forbid if there was an emergency and we were needed or needed to call out.”
Suncorp Bank said on Twitter the outage was affecting the connectivity of some of its ATMs, EFTPOS terminals and phones.
February’s national outage prevented 1.5 million people from making calls or searching the web.
Telstra offered its customers a ‘free-data Sunday’ as an apology, prompting one Sydney man to chew through an enormous 425GB of mobile data.
The New Daily contacted Telstra to ask about the cause of the outage and if customers would be compensated, but it was yet to reply.
Telstra tweeted to one user: “@mirrormatt86 if you wish to discuss the option of compensation, please chat with us”.
Earlier on Thursday, Fairfax Media reported Telstra was considering selling its 50 per cent stake in pay-television service Foxtel.
That stake is worth a reported $4.5 billion.
The news came as Foxtel appointed News Corp Australia chief Peter Tonagh as its new chief executive.
– with ABC